For Immediate Release
Statement on President Obama's Nobel Prize
WASHINGTON - Friends
of the Earth President Erich Pica had the following statement on today's announcement
that the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to President Barack Obama, in part
because of his work on climate change:
"We offer our sincere congratulations to President
Obama for receiving this honor. It reflects his commitment to tackle
profoundly important issues and re-engage the world community, as well as his
ability to inspire hope and optimism that bold change is possible. The award
will heighten the global community's already-high expectations of our President
for more responsible U.S.
engagement in the world.
"We have concerns though, that the Norwegian Nobel
Committee awarded President Obama this award on the basis of expectations that
have not yet been met. While President Obama has pledged to solve climate
change at the international level it is important to note the United States
is still playing a counter-productive role in the ongoing climate
negotiations. At this moment U.S.
negotiators are in Bangkok
attempting to undermine existing agreements and shirk wealthy nations' responsibility
to lead the way in solving the climate crisis.
"We must also note that the United States' war in Iraq
continues while the country debates a massive escalation of the war in Afghanistan. In
addition, the United States
is still committing serious human rights violations at Guantanamo Bay
and Bagram Airbase. We hope President Obama acts, consistent with the
recognition he has received today, to end these wars and stop human rights
"Failing to solve the climate crisis in a just and
equitable way and end ongoing wars will undermine peace in our world and
undermine basic human rights. We hope that President Obama's receipt of this
award prompts him to re-think his administration's approach. The United States
must play a leadership role in the world. While the President's openness
to diplomacy and international negotiations are a welcomed change, they must be
matched by tangible action.
"President Obama will receive his award in Oslo, Norway,
on December 10—the same time that climate negotiations will be taking
place in Copenhagen.
We urge him to travel to Europe at this time
not just to accept an award, but also to ensure that a strong and fair climate
agreement is achieved."
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Friends of the Earth is the U.S. voice of the world's largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 77 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has fought to create a more healthy, just world.